Are Blogs Dead? I Don’t Think So…

Wired says that blogs are dead, and that Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube like sites are the future.  They argue that the ‘blogosphere’ has been overrun by commercial sites, paid authors, and underground marketing, and that brevity and/or multimedia nature of these new tools further evens the playing field.

Is this up for discussion?

In my opinion, this article ignores the ‘long tail’ phenomenon of weblogs/social media (a phrase that was coined by Wired).  In short, while there are only a few mega-popular sites, there are so many people online with so many varied interests that even micro-niche sites can be successful.  No matter how narrow your focus, there are likely to be thousands of people out there with the same interests.

Flickr, twitter, Facebook, and similar tools are good for capturing moments, and answering questions like “what are you doing now?”  They’re a great way for me to share with friends, family, and colleagues things that are going on right now.  Blogs, however, are probably better at transferring knowledge and insight, or answering questions like “how do I configure PHP to make my website work?”

I don’t even think video-blogging will make a dent in text-blogging.  First video search is really hard.  Google is starting to address this with Election speeches, IBM is working on it too.  But there’s way more to be done.  Yes, I’d like to search things people say in video, but what about searching by location (I want videos from Paris; I want videos inside a garage — a home garage, not a repair garage) or by events (I want videos of the Iowa Floods of 2008).  Second, text is better at allowing people to navigate, jump around hyperlinks, and find the information they want.

I guess its a matter of picking the right tool for the right job.

– J